FINALIST FOR BEST NONFICTION WAR/MILITARY (Foreword INDIES) Kandahar. The ancient desert crossroads and, as of fall of 2001, ground zero for the Taliban and al-Qa’ida in southern Afghanistan. In the northern part of the country, the U.S.-supported Northern Alliance (the Afghan organization opposed to the Taliban regime) has made progress on the battlefield, but in the south, the country is still under the Taliban’s bloody hold and al-Qa’ida continues to operate there. With no “Southern Alliance” for the US to support, a new strategy is needed if victory is to be achieved. Veteran CIA officer Duane Evans is dispatched to Pakistan to “get something going in the South.” Foxtrot in Kandahar is his story. Evans’s unexpected journey from the pristine halls of Langley to the badlands of southern Afghanistan began within hours after watching the horrors of 9/11 unfold during a chance visit to FBI Headquarters. It was then he decided to begin a personal and relentless quest to become part of the US response against al-Qa’ida. Evans’s gripping memoir tracks his efforts to join one of CIA’s elite teams bound for Afghanistan, a journey that eventually takes him to the front lines in Pakistan, first as part of the advanced element of CIA’s Echo team supporting Hamid Karzai, and finally as leader of the under-resourced and often overlooked Foxtrot team. Relying on rusty military skills from his days as a Green Beret, and brandishing a traded-for rifle, Evans moves toward Kandahar in the company of Pashtun warriors—one of only a handful of Americans pushing forward across the desert into some of the most dangerous, yet mesmerizingly beautiful, landscape on earth. The ultimate triumph of the CIA and Special Forces teams, when absolutely everything was on the line, is tempered by the US tragedy that catalyzed what is now America’s longest war. Evans concludes his memoir with an analysis of opportunities lost in the years since his time in Afghanistan. Brilliantly crafted and fast-paced, Foxtrot in Kandahar: A Memoir of a CIA Officer in Afghanistan at the Inception of America’s Longest War fills a major gap in the literature of the war’s critical and complex early months. It is required reading for anyone interested in modern warfare, complicated tribal politics, and the ancient land where they intersect.
Kandahar. The ancient desert crossroads and, as of fall of 2001, ground zero for the Taliban and al-Qa'ida in southern Afghanistan. In the northern part of the country, the U.S.-supported Northern Alliance (the Afghan organization opposed to the Taliban regime) has made progress on the battlefield, but in the south, the country is still under the Taliban's bloody hold and al-Qa'ida continues to operate there. With no "Southern Alliance" for the US to support, a new strategy is needed if victory is to be achieved. Veteran CIA officer Duane Evans is dispatched to Pakistan to "get something going in the South." Foxtrot in Kandahar is his story. Evans's unexpected journey from the pristine halls of Langley to the badlands of southern Afghanistan began within hours after watching the horrors of 9/11 unfold during a chance visit to FBI Headquarters. It was then he decided to begin a personal and relentless quest to become part of the US response against al-Qa'ida. Evans's gripping memoir tracks his efforts to join one of CIA's elite teams bound for Afghanistan, a journey that eventually takes him to the front lines in Pakistan, first as part of the advanced element of CIA's Echo team supporting Hamid Karzai, and finally as leader of the under-resourced and often overlooked Foxtrot team. Relying on rusty military skills from his days as a Green Beret, and brandishing a traded-for rifle, Evans moves toward Kandahar in the company of Pashtun warriors--one of only a handful of Americans pushing forward across the desert into some of the most dangerous, yet mesmerizingly beautiful, landscape on earth. The ultimate triumph of the CIA and Special Forces teams, when absolutely everything was on the line, is tempered by the US tragedy that catalyzed what is now America's longest war. Evans concludes his memoir with an analysis of opportunities lost in the years since his time in Afghanistan. Brilliantly crafted and fast-paced, Foxtrot in Kandahar: A Memoir of a CIA Officer in Afghanistan at the Inception of America's Longest War fills a major gap in the literature of the war's critical and complex early months. It is required reading for anyone interested in modern warfare, complicated tribal politics, and the ancient land where they intersect.
Author: Robert L. Grenier
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2016-01-26
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
The “first” Afghan War, a CIA war in response to 9/11, was directed by the CIA Station Chief in Islamabad. It put Hamid Karzai in power in 88 days. “If you want an insider’s account of the first American-Afghan War, you can’t do better than this…Important reading to understand where we are today” (Library Journal). From his preparation of the original, post-9/11 war plan, approved by President Bush, through to “final” fleeting victory, Robert Grenier relates the tale of the “southern campaign,” which drove al-Qa’ida and the Taliban from Kandahar, its capital, in an astonishing eighty-eight days. “With his ringside seat as the senior agency official stationed closest to Afghanistan, Grenier is able to describe meeting by meeting, sometimes phone call after phone call, how events unfolded” (The New York Times). In his gripping account, we meet: General Tommy Franks, who bridles at CIA control of “his” war; General “Jafar Amin,” a gruff Pakistani intelligence officer who saves Grenier from committing career suicide; Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s brilliant ambassador to the US, who tries to warn her government of the al-Qa’ida threat; and Hamid Karzai, the puzzling anti-Taliban insurgent, a man with elements of greatness, petulance, and moods. With suspense and insight, Grenier details his very personal struggles and triumphs. 88 Days to Kandahar is “an action-packed tale, rich in implication, of the post-9/11 race to unseat the Taliban and rout al-Qaida in Afghanistan” (Kirkus Reviews).
A real-life, can’t-put-down spy memoir. The CIA is looking for walking contradictions. Recruiters seek out potential agents who can keep a secret yet pull classified information out of others; who love their country but are willing to leave it behind for dangerous places; who live double lives, but can be trusted with some of the nation’s most highly sensitive tasks. Michele Rigby Assad was one of those people. As a CIA agent and a counterterrorism expert, Michele soon found that working undercover was an all-encompassing job. The threats were real; the assignments perilous. Michele spent over a decade in the agency—a woman leading some of the most highly skilled operatives on the planet, secretly serving in some of the most treacherous areas of the Middle East, and at risk as a target for ISIS. But deep inside, Michele wondered: Could she really do this job? Had she misunderstood what she thought was God’s calling on her life? Did she have what it would take to survive? The answer came when Michele faced her ultimate mission, one with others’ lives on the line—and it turned out to have been the plan for her all along. In Breaking Cover, Michele has at last been cleared to drop cover and tell her story: one of life-or-death stakes; of defeating incredible odds; and most of all, of discovering a faith greater than all her fears.
Author: H. Montgomery Hyde
Publisher: Pickle Partners Publishing
Release Date: 2016-03-28
The story of the British Intelligence Center in New York during World War II With headquarters in New York at 630 Fifth Avenue, Room 3603, the organization known as the British Security Coordination, or B.S.C., was the keystone of the successful Anglo-American partnership in the field of secret intelligence, counterespionage and “special operations.” The man chosen by Sir Winston Churchill to set up and direct this crucial effort was Sir William Stephenson. A fighter pilot in the First World War, he had become a millionaire before he was thirty through his invention of the device for transmitting photographs by wireless. The late General Bill Donovan, director of the Office of Strategic Services, said of him; “Bill Stephenson taught us all we ever knew about foreign intelligence.” Sir William Stephenson has now put all his papers and much other relevant material at the disposal of H. Montgomery Hyde, a member of his wartime organization who knows him intimately. The result is a unique picture of the British Secret Service in action and of the remarkable exploits of its brilliant but personally unobtrusive chief in the United States. At the end of the war, J. Edgar Hoover, with whom Stephenson worked closely, wrote to him: “When the full story can be told, I am quite certain that your contribution will be among the foremost in having brought victory finally to the united nations’ cause” Now it can be told; Room 3603 is the full story. Ian Fleming’s delightful Foreword adds this information: “Bill Stephenson worked himself almost to death during the war, carrying out undercover operations and often dangerous assignments (they culminated with the Gouzenko case that put Fuchs in the bag) that can only be hinted at in the fascinating book that Mr. Montgomery Hyde has, for some reason, been allowed to write—the first book, so far as I know, about the British secret agent whose publication has received official blessing.”
Author: Raymond Davis
Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.
Release Date: 2017-06-27
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
A lot has been written about the time contractor Raymond Davis spent in a Pakistani jail in 2011. Unfortunately, much of it is misleading—or downright false—information. Now, the man at the center of the controversy tells his side of the story for the very first time. In The Contractor: How I Landed in a Pakistani Prison and Ignited a Diplomatic Crisis, Davis offers an up-close and personal look at the 2011 incident in Lahore, Pakistan, that led to his imprisonment and the events that took place as diplomats on both sides of the bargaining table scrambled to get him out. How did a routine drive turn into front-page news? Davis dissects the incident before taking readers on the same journey he endured while trapped in the Kafkaesque Pakistani legal system. As a veteran security contractor, Davis had come to terms with the prospect of dying long before the January 27, 2011 shooting, but nothing could prepare him for being a political pawn in a game with the highest stakes imaginable. An eye-opening memoir, The Contractor takes the veil off Raymond Davis’s story and offers a sober reflection on the true cost of the War on Terror.
Author: Daniel R. Green
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
Release Date: 2017-07-15
In 2010, U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) in Afghanistan began a new and innovative program to fight the Taliban insurgency using the movement's structure and strategy against it. The Village Stability Operations/Afghan Local Police initiative consisted of U.S. Army Special Forces and U.S. Navy SEAL Teams embedding in key villages and districts throughout rural Afghanistan where they partnered with villagers to fight the Taliban insurgency holistically. Instead of using a top-down approach where security was something often done to a village SOF inverted the strategy by using a bottom-up initiative that leveraged the population against the Taliban so that security was something that was done with the community. The Village Stability Operations program partnered with village elders to resist and defeat the Taliban and, as security improved, empowered communities by engaging in local governance efforts and small-scale development projects. By enlisting Afghans in their own defense, organizing villagers, and addressing their grievances with the Afghan Government, SOF was able to defeat the Taliban's military as well as its political arm. Rooted as much in the traditions of U.S. Army Special Forces as much as an outgrowth of the lessons learned in the broader SOF community from its years of counterinsurgency work in Iraq and Afghanistan, this new method of war fundamentally changed the terms of the conflict with the Taliban all across Afghanistan. However, little is known about the Village Stability Operations initiative outside of the Special Operations community even though it had a profound effect on the course of the war — until now. In this gripping, first-hand account of how the Village Stability Operations program functioned in practice, Daniel R. Green provides a long-term perspective of how Special Operations Forces stabilized the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan. The province was the site of the southern Pashtun uprising against the Taliban in 2001 led by Hamid Karzai, the future President of Afghanistan, who partnered with U.S. Army Special Forces to launch an unconventional war against the Islamist movement. The Village War provides a comprehensive overview of how SOF adapted to the unique demands of the local insurgency and is a rare, inside look into how Special Operations confronted the Taliban by fighting a "better war" and in so doing fundamentally changed the course of the war in Afghanistan.
In a gripping story torn from today's headlines, Tarek Nasir, a westernized Pakistani intelligence officer races to stop an attack against India by a Kashmiri terrorist group. A successful attack could mean war between India and Pakistan, with possible nuclear ramifications. Of more immediate concern to Tarek, the attack also will take the life of Sahar, the hypnotically seductive Indian architect, who has cracked the combination to his soul.
"One of the most thoughtful and honest accounts ever written by a young Army officer confronting all the tests of life." -Bob Woodward In this surprise bestseller, West Point grad, Rhodes scholar, Airborne Ranger, and U. S. Army Captain Craig Mullaney recounts his unparalleled education and the hard lessons that only war can teach. While stationed in Afghanistan, a deadly firefight with al-Qaeda leads to the loss of one of his soldiers. Years later, after that excruciating experience, he returns to the United States to teach future officers at the Naval Academy. Written with unflinching honesty, this is an unforgettable portrait of a young soldier grappling with the weight of war while coming to terms with what it means to be a man.
Author: John Kiriakou
Release Date: 2010-03-16
Genre: Political Science
Long before the waterboarding controversy exploded in the media, one CIA agent had already gone public. In a groundbreaking 2007 interview with ABC News, John Kiriakou called waterboarding torture—but admitted that it probably worked. This book, at once a confessional, an adventure story, and a chronicle of Kiriakou’s life in the CIA, stands as an important, eloquent piece of testimony from a committed American patriot. In February 2002 Kiriakou was the head of counterterrorism in Pakistan. Under his command, in a spectacular raid coordinated with Pakistani agents and the CIA’s best intelligence analyst, Kiriakou’s field officers took down the infamous terrorist Abu Zubaydah. For days, Kiriakou became the wounded terrorist’s personal “bodyguard.” In circumstances stranger than fiction, as al-Qaeda agents scoured the streets for their captured leader, the best trauma surgeon in America was flown to Pakistan to make sure that Zubaydah did not die. In The Reluctant Spy, Kiriakou takes us into the fight against an enemy fueled by fanaticism. He chillingly describes what it was like inside the CIA headquarters on the morning of 9/11, the agency leaders who stepped up and those who protected their careers. And in what may be the book’s most shocking revelation, he describes how the White House made plans to invade Iraq a full year before the CIA knew about it—or could attempt to stop it. Chronicling both mind-boggling mistakes and heroic acts of individual courage, The Reluctant Spy is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the inner workings of the U.S. intelligence apparatus, the truth behind the torture debate, and the incredible dedication of ordinary men and women doing one of the most extraordinary jobs on earth. From the Hardcover edition.
The Canadian 4th armored division crossed the Channel in July 1944 to reinforce the invading forces and assist in the Allied attempts to breakout of the Normandy beachhead around. They were heavily engaged in Operation Totalize and Operation Tractable but have been criticized for their failure to close the ‘Falaise gap’ and complete the entrapment of withdrawing German forces. Their commander, Major General George Kitching, was relieved of his command after just 21 days in action. Angelo Caravaggio reexamines the division’s performance and particularly that of its leadership. Using new information, he establishes that, despite entering battle for the first time during one of the most challenging phases of Allied operations in August 1944, the 4th Armored Division, under Kitching’s leadership proved resilient and adaptive in overcoming the volatile and unpredictable nature of warfare in Normandy. The combat operations of August 1944 transformed the division into a battle-hardened combat formation that would later distinguish itself through its ability to generate a sustained drive across France out of the chaos and destruction of the Normandy battles.
The explosive sequel to the bestselling PATHFINDER. For the first time ever an elite British operator tells the gruelling story of his selection into the Pathfinders - Britain's secret soldiers. Pathfinder selection is a brutal physical and psychological trial lasting many weeks. It rivals that of the SAS and takes place over the same spine-crushing terrain, in the rain-and-snow-lashed wastes of the Welsh Mountains. For two decades no one has been able to relate the extraordinary trials of British elite forces selection - until now. Captain David Blakeley goes on from completing selection to serve with the Pathfinders in Afghanistan post 9/11, where he had a gun held to his head by Al Qaeda fighters. From there he deploys to Iraq, on a series of dramatic behind- enemy-lines missions - wherein he and his tiny elite patrol are outnumbered, outgunned and trapped. Maverick One is unique and extraordinary, chronicling the making of a warrior. It culminates in Blakeley fighting back to full recovery from horrific injuries suffered whilst on operations in Iraq, to go on to face SAS selection.
Author: Toby Harnden
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2014-11-17
Dead Men Risen, winner of the prestigious Orwell Prize for Books, is the epic story of a beleaguered British battle group fighting desperately to prevent the Taliban from seizing Afghanistan's Helmand province just as the U.S. Marines arrive to take over. Bestselling author Toby Harnden describes how men from the coal mining valleys and slate quarry villages of Wales found themselves in the most intense combat faced by British troops for a generation. Underequipped and overstretched, the fighting prowess of the Welsh Guards in the killing fields of Sangin and Nawa awed the U.S. Marines. NATO commander General Stanley McChrystal, who was awaiting a response to his urgent request to President Barack Obama for more troops, hailed their "burn-in-your-gut passion." Harnden was on the ground with the Welsh Guards in Helmand in 2009. He gained access to a trove of secret military documents and conducted nearly three hundred interviews in Afghanistan, England, Wales, and the United States to produce this timeless and profound account of men at war. Commanding the Welsh Guards was Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, a passionate believer in the justness of the war who was dismayed by the military and political incompetence surrounding it. In chilling detail, Harnden reveals how and why Thorneloe—the first British battalion commander to die in action since the 1982 Falklands War—was killed by an IED during Operation Panther’s Claw. By the time the fighting was over, almost no rank had been spared. From the searing heat of the poppy fields and the mud compounds of Helmand to the dreaded knock on the door back home, the reader is transported there. Harnden weaves the experiences of the soldiers, their historical forbears and the flawed NATO strategy into a masterly narrative. No other book about modern conflict succeeds on so many levels. Dead Men Risen is essential for anyone who wants to understand the reality of the Afghan war for the U.S and its allies.
Author: Gary Schroen
Publisher: Presidio Press
Release Date: 2005-05-10
While America held its breath in the days immediately following 9/11, a small but determined group of CIA agents covertly began to change history. This is the riveting first-person account of the treacherous top-secret mission inside Afghanistan to set the stage for the defeat of the Taliban and launch the war on terror. As thrilling as any novel, First In is a uniquely intimate look at a mission that began the U.S. retaliation against terrorism–and reclaimed the country of Afghanistan for its people. From the Hardcover edition.